G R O O V E M E N T

INTERVIEW: PAUL WHITE // MARCH 2013

A brief album discography to start off with… click each cover to have a listen to the album. Check his Bandcamp for EPs.

The Strange Dreams Of Paul White (2009)

Sounds From The Skylight (2009)

Paul White and the Purple Brain (2010)

Rapping With Paul White (2011)

Rapping With Paul White {The Room Below Versions} (2012)

Paul White’s popularity seems to spread in tsunamis – first with the fans acquired through his One Handed Music debut The Strange Dreams Of…, then people who jumped aboard subsequent releases (not least with Stones Throw cousin Now Again being involved from Purple Brain onwards) and finally the explosion of fandom that followed the release of Rapping With…

Even through all this, Paul has remained a fairly elusive individual. One Handed Music’s Alex Chase has been a guiding hand throughout, but it appears that’s all changing as of now. As OHM put it recently: “after years in the shadows, Paul White has come out fighting. Not only is he posting vintage beats on Soundcloud, he’s also giving away a free download of his remix of Seaming To’s ‘Vertigo Billy’. Put in your requests for beats from the vault on Paul’s Facebook page or chat with him on Twitter. His Soundcloud stream is here.”

So, 2013 looks set to be Paul’s biggest year yet – hopefully he’ll continue to step forth into the limelight, and probably won’t have a choice once the next Danny Brown album Old drops (which he contributes another few tracks to – see XXX for previous form on Adderall Admiral, Fields and Scrap Or Die).

I chatted to Paul both as a follow up to our 2009 talk (streamable below) and in anticipation of his forthcoming Manchester date at Kraak on Good Friday, made possible by the combined might of our good friends at Mind On Fire and This City Is Ours. Here’s the poster – click it to find a ticket link!

 

Hello Paul! What are you up to right now?

Studying this crazy fascinating life….apart from that just finished off the new EP, Watch The Ants, finished off a few remixes, one’s just come out called Vertigo Billy by original artist Seaming To, done ones for Azymuth and The Ipanemas too. Been busy with Danny Brown’s album, just finishing a crazy little live 12″ project. Been working with some musicians and singers, writing avant-garde, trying everything!

Last time we spoke (May 2009) you’d just dropped your debut ‘The Strange Dreams Of…’ – how do you regard that as a piece of work now?

I was just so happy I could put that out the way it was, like little film clips, little emotion clips, because life changes pretty fast. That album is like a diary of my life at the time. It represents a time in my life, and I’m so happy I got to put that out purely like that!

You seem to have come a long way in terms of collabs since then… some of these were simply hopes at the time.

PAUL WHITE x GROOVEMENT 2009

PAUL WHITE // MAY09 by Groovement Interviews on Mixcloud

Have OHM continued to be good pilots of the good ship Paul White? How hard is it to balance raising awareness through giving away free music and making a living for the label – and indeed yourself?

I mean, I do this because I love music so much, like toooo much. I love being able to share my music, it feels like an honour to be able to do this, on my own and collaborating. I totally owe that to One-Handed who have been amazingly supportive, its a beautiful label where you can just be pure, which is what music should be 200 million billion percent. So One-Handed has been a great ship to be on! I let them arrange that balance though mainly, you have to go with the times. Connecting with people is the magical part for me!

Have you changed the way you make music to suit certain vocalists?

Ive never done that once, never tried to make something for someone, it just doesnt work, you never know what people are going to like and pick and want to use! Thats whats beautiful about it, the unpredictability, wouldn’t have it any other way! People might pick the weirdest craziest track you never thought they would just because of how they felt that day, I love that, truly connecting with someone without saying shit!

Have you modified or changed your music making methods in any way?

I kinda always tried to go with different ways and approaches anyway, but yeah of course for sure, you listen to new types of music, get influenced by different things, your life changes, so everything changes all the time, you cant try and hold a constant, that will be painful, its like Bruce Lee says “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless……. Be water my friend”.

 

You’re playing a live set with Mo Kolours in Manchester. How did this set up come about and what does it entail?

Mo Kolours

About a year and a half ago I had a gig set up for Switzerland and needed a live show, me and Mo have been friends and musical partners in crime for years, so thought lets get 2 of us and learn some instruments, so I borrowed a little drum kit set up some keyboards and went through loads of my beats and found ones I could re-create live, because a lot of them I couldn’t. And it just turned into so much fun and inspiration doing it that way, which then obviously breed into different ideas, with Mo aswell were both on the same page so it fit together real easily, we both see music as the same thing. I mean Im still learning these instruments, now I also play with a musican/producer called Tenderlonious on Saxophone, percussion and other toys, so there’s 3 of us now, basically we all swap around all over the place instrument wise, its real free and loose and just energy and fun and a quarter just improvised with a rough outline. I want the feel and the vibe and the energy and emotion to come through the most more than anything, so you cant get too rigid with that, its got to be loose and free. Now I try and play as much as I can on the show, marimba, drums, percussion, keyboards, sing, I wack just a tom drum for one, its fun man, but I wanna take it somewhere, got ideas!!

Mind on Fire and This City Is Ours, who are putting you on in Manchester, are both promoters (and record labels) who put on performers they love. I consider Manchester to be musically healthy at various levels, from hip hop to woozy ambience. Do you have a feel for which parts of the country have what you’d consider a vibrant music scene – or is there a particular hotspot of producers anywhere that you keep an ear on?

I suppose a little yeah. I think there’s probably amazing music scenes all over the world, its just some you hear some you don’t, some might be real small, that’s why you gotta really look. I mean I feel I’ve been lucky growing up in somewhere like London, where theres music scenes everywhere, Ive grown up going to the Barbican with my dad and places like that, seeing all types of people through different genres, then growing up raving a lot as a kid, now there’s all these producers and musicians in London doing their thing now, and were all connecting naturally that’s whats nice, just the universe doing its thing it feels like, so its always felt there’s such a music scene here, throughout my life, always all around me. But I love music from everywhere, I suppose I don’t really focus on scenes just good music, you don’t wanna miss anywhere or anything out!

Saying that… do you think it’s possible for music ‘scenes’ to still exist or is that restricted to online movements now? Do you make your music imagining what it will sound like in a club?

People always come together, similar minded people, just naturally I think, so there will always be scenes and groups of people, hopefully a lot more I think we need more people coming together, the internet can be dangerous in the sense you can connect without actually meeting which is always better, so the internet changes things I suppose, but also can enable those scenes to cross pollinate more maybe too, or go the total opposite way, depends how you take it, but I guess its also got the potential for scenes to grow and connect, its up to the people at the end of the day not the technology. When I make my music I don’t think about anything, in fact I try to think as little as possible and just do what my heart tells me and not my brain, I think thinking too much can distract you, second guessing stuff, I try and get my feeling and energy in there, that’s about it, turn your brain OFF, and see where else it comes from. A lot of the best music out there is one takes, certain jazz musicians and I’m sure many many others too wouldn’t ever do a third take when recording, ever, some probably never even did a second take, that frees you, not limits you. Never limit yourself by only thinking one thing, that’s why you shouldn’t think at all.

Paul, in a car.

When I spoke to you last we were discussing Myspace as your main social networking tool. How have you found this changing in the last four years?

I mean I’ve only just got myself on twitter and facebook properly, so I’m just seeing how similar that can be to myspace in the way of connecting with people from all over the world. Its just shifted over to different platforms.

I know you’re a modest person, so how do you feel about the internet buzz about your work? I haven’t heard a bad thing.

Well much appreciated firstly. Obviously it makes me very happy to know people enjoy it, it gives me inspiration and a fire to do even more, to give back, but I don’t focus on that, strongly, for a reason, I only wanna do this because I love it, not for anything else, its like Leon Ware says, the success you have will depend on how much you truly love something, rather than focusing on any rewards. I love music and the feeling it gives me, sharing that is amazing and if people feel what you feel, that’s really magical!

Cliche question! Tell me some good music you’ve heard recently.

Been obsessed with Moondog lately, his more unknown stuff, that’s got me into all this crazy counterpoint music! Love those dudes Tame Impala too, their real psych stuff like Mind Mischief…. been listening to too much good music to mention! But saying that I still need to listen to so much more out there too, its hard when your trying to make it all the time.

I look forward to seeing you again at the end of this month. Will you sign my pillowcase please?

Fo shizzle. Cant wait myself! Thanks!

It's not just the room below that appreciates Paul's music.

Paul White plays in Manchester (with Mo Kolours on drums) on Good Friday 29 March 2013. Grab a ticket here.
Support comes from Danny Drive Thru and Ape Cult.